Burdge--Promoting Corporate Identities
The 20,000-square-foot facility Burdge occupies today is a far cry from the small storefront shop where it began in downtown Los Angeles. In the early days, Charles would hand-engrave copper printing plates, and policemen on horseback would have to disperse crowds gathered to watch the artistry.
Today, the same hands-on craftsmanship can be seen in many of the company's products, hand-engraved with dies created on the premises.
But with such modern technologies as the fax machine, laser printer and e-mail, how deep is the demand for fine stationery? Very. If deep is a measure of how far customers will reach into their pockets to pay for such a service, Burdge has a well of potential that is continually being tapped.
The demand for fine stationery is on the rise. To stand out amidst the clutter of the Information Age, many corporations try to add a personal touch at every opportunity. John Naisbitt noted this sentiment in his 1982 bestseller "Megatrends": "As a society becomes more high-tech, it longs for high-touch. The more information we have flooding our everyday world, the more we crave the quality and handmade craftsmanship of yesterday."
Burdge considers this a timeless philosophy that increases in significance with each passing day.
"People want the same thing in 1998 as they did in 1923—to look good on paper," says President Donald "Don" R. Burdge. "From the beginning, we have been able to distinguish our customers over their competitors, through the business cards they hand out to the letterhead with which they correspond."
Interestingly, Burdge claims that while engraving is more time-intensive than other printing processes, his customers are usually surprised by its relatively low cost.
"They see the extra expense for engraving [just pennies more per stationery sheet] as an investment in one of their company's most important marketing tools—its corporate image," says Burdge, who helped his company become a pioneer, when it began etching engraving plates photomechanically. In 1981, Burdge reportedly was one of the first printing operations in the country to use this technology.